Back to the drawing board

Bethany J. Royer

May 11, 2014

By Bethany J. Royer

Staff Writer


PIQUA — Bottom line — it doesn’t work.

It being the BioACTIFLO high-rate water treatment process, according to David Burtner, director of utilities, pursued by the wastewater treatment plant management as part of an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requirement to have sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) eliminated by 2018.

“The system worked,” said Burtner of the process conducted at the plant on Bridge St., “However, certain things that it needs to do, feeding the system, we don’t have enough mass to be able to generate it for a long period of time.”

The study began this time last year, after city leaders determined out of four alternative processes the BioACTIFLO process was the most economical, feasible, and reasonable. At least in comparison to the other three choices of upgrading/expanding the current plant, use the existing plant but with supplement treatment, or build a new plant.

The BioACTIFLO process would have added a biologically enhanced high rate treatment for wet weather flows to the existing plant and, “It would have saved us a lot of money,” said Dave Davis, wastewater system superintendent, with the EPA also on board with the study due to its being a new technology.

“It’s so new and so innovative they haven’t had a chance to look at the process,” explained Burtner, with no one else in the state of Ohio (at the time) looking at BioACTIFLO which uses natural processes (Bugs, bacteria) as opposed to just a physical process. Unfortunately, for the city of Piqua, the process doesn’t work, and now it is back to the drawing board or rather, the master plan.

“Everything feeds off of that master plan,” said Burtner with the first step completed — addressing commission and re-contracting with CDM Smith to continue their engineering services back in April — and revisit those three processes left behind while looking for other potentials.

Not to be mistaken, “It was money well spent,” said Burtner on the BioACTIFLO study, otherwise, “We may have just went ahead and put it in and then we would have been in trouble.”

For more information, the wastewater treatment plant study can be seen online at: http://tinyurl.com/lhhq7qg

Bethany J. Royer may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall